AUSTIN – Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed SB 1, the general appropriations bill, establishing education, mental health and public safety as major priorities for the upcoming two-year budget. She also filed SB 500, the supplemental budget, which includes funding for school safety, state hospitals, pensions, Hurricane Harvey expenses and other needs.

"Our commitment to fiscal responsibility is paying major dividends, affording us an opportunity to secure the Texas miracle for generations to come. This budget makes targeted investments in education, including a well-deserved pay raise for Texas teachers, and continues our work on transportation, mental health and other key priorities," Senator Nelson said. "We also ramp up our efforts to combat human trafficking, help survivors of sexual assault and protect our state against cyber attacks, which is a clear and present danger."

SB 1, which represents the Senate's base budget for FY 2020-21, appropriates approximately $112 billion in General Revenue. Highlights of SB 1 include:

  • $2.4 billion to fund enrollment growth for public education, based on an estimated 65,000 additional students per year;
  • an additional $3.7 billion for teacher pay raises;
  • $2.3 billion to reduce reliance on recapture under the so-called "Robin Hood" system;
  • $8 million, an increase of $3 million, for Pathways in Technology Early College High School, a partnership between technology-based companies and public education;
  • $230 million to maintain current health insurance premiums and benefits for our retired teachers through TRS-Care;
  • $157 million, an increase of $60 million, to address health care workforce shortages, specifically to maintain the state's 1.1 to 1 ratio of graduate medical education slots in relation to the number of medical school graduates;
  • an increase of $182 million to fund enrollment growth at our higher education institutions and restore Texas State Technical Colleges to historic funding levels;
  • funding to cover projected Medicaid caseload growth;
  • combined funding of $7.5 billion for mental health across 21 state agencies, including:
  • $100 million in new funding for Senator Nelson's SB 63, to:
  • improve identification and access to mental health services for children and youth through behavioral health consultations to pediatricians and primary care providers, and through telemedicine or telehealth programs;
  • address psychiatry workforce challenges; and
  • promote and coordinate mental health research across university systems;
  • an additional $59 million to increase outpatient community mental health treatment capacity and avoid future waitlists; and
  • an increase of $22.5 million to continue community mental health grant programs established last session;
  • $284.6 million to maintain historic funding levels for women's health programs, which have a record level of provider participants and are serving more women than ever before;
  • maintained caseloads at Child Protective Services;
  • significant investments to serve victims of sexual assault:
  • $7.5 million in new funding to expand rape crisis center capacity statewide and end service waitlists for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence;
  • $49.8 million in additional funding for state crime labs to increase capacity and expedite processing of sexual assault kits and other evidence; and
  • $1 million to launch a new telemedicine program, defined in SB 71 by Senator Nelson, to grow available forensic nursing services for victims of sexual assault;
  • approval of all seven agency requests related to combatting human trafficking totaling $84.5 million, an increase of $59.3 million -- more than three times the current funding level, including:
  • $1.3 million to expand human trafficking prevention at the Department of Family and Protective Services;
  • $507,000 to add additional enforcement agents to target trafficking operations at businesses licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission;
  • $2.8 million to expand prosecution efforts by the Office of the Attorney General;
  • $60.8 million to establish an anti-gang task force and an anti-human trafficking task force within the Department of Public Safety; and
  • $513,000 to create a rapid-response to human trafficking team for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
  • $1.2 million to leverage a $23.3 million federal grant to improve election security;
  • an additional $4.3 million for judicial training, and a directive to ensure judicial education includes mental health resources available in each court's community;
  • $2 million to expand vocational training programs at the Department of Criminal Justice, preparing offenders for successful reentry into society;
  • $1 billion for cybersecurity, legacy system replacement, and other information technology projects to fortify state agencies and sensitive data;
  • $31.2 billion to the Texas Department of Transportation, an increase of $427 million to address the state's transportation needs, including the full $5 billion transfer to the State Highway Fund from Proposition 7;
  • 100 percent appropriation of the available sporting goods sales tax to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Historical Commission, authorizing:
  • $313 million to fund our state parks -- an increase of $37 million and the largest allocation in state history; and
  • $20 million, an increase of $2 million, to preserve and maintain Texas historic sites;
  • improved air permit processing for businesses by increasing the excess revenue cap from $250,000 to $2.2 million for expedited air permits; and
  • $45 million to maintain the state's investment in air quality monitoring systems at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

SB 500, also filed today, provides $4.2 billion ($2.5 billion out of the Economic Stabilization Fund) to cover supplemental needs for the FY 18-19 biennium and fund several priorities, including:

  • over $1 billion for Harvey-related expenses;
  • $2.1 billion to address the Medicaid shortfall;
  • $100 million for school safety;
  • $300 million to continue the Legislature's commitment to improve state hospital facilities;
  • $300 million to address pension liabilities for the Employees Retirement System and another $300 million to address the same issue for the Teacher Retirement System;
  • $211 million to pay obligations of the Texas Tomorrow Fund;
  • $160 million to address the Correctional Managed Health Care shortfall;
  • $100 million to refill the Governor's Disaster Fund to help rebuild from natural disasters; and
  • $113 million to address supplemental needs at the Department of Family and Protective Services.

This is just the first step in a long budget process. The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Nelson, will further develop SB 1 and make recommendations to the full Senate. The House of Representatives follows a similar process. Once both chambers have approved their respective budgets, a conference committee will be appointed to work out differences between the two chambers and send a revised budget back to each chamber for final approval. According to the Texas Constitution, the Legislature meets for 140 days every odd-numbered year and must pass only one bill -- the two-year state budget.

Senator Jane Nelson represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.


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